Kagoshima city to give away camper vans under tax donation program

JIJI

The city of Soo in Kagoshima Prefecture will reward people who have donated above a certain amount of money to the city under the nation’s “hometown tax donation” system with camper vans, it was learned Friday.

The city’s decision is likely to annoy the internal affairs ministry, which has asked municipalities to limit the value of the gifts they distribute to 30 percent of the donated amount and avoid handing out high-value goods.

The hometown tax donation system, known as furusato nozei, allows contributors to choose which governments they want to support. Contributors using the scheme usually receive gifts from the municipalities they assist and can have the donated amount deducted from their income and residential taxes if they file tax returns.

Rewarding contributors with the small, handmade camper vans “helps publicize the highly technically advanced local manufacturing industry,” a city official said.

The campers were made by Vanshop Mikami, which specializes in remodeling vehicles. The 658cc Tentmushi model normally retails for about ¥3 million. In 2012, the company received an award from the central government for its outstanding craftsmanship. The vehicle will be given to the first five donors who give ¥5 million or more.